Downsizing
Posted: 05 February 2010 01:33 PM   [ Ignore ]
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There seems to be a new trend emerging towards baking single layers and smaller cakes reflecting a renewed healthy living style.

The emphasis is on baking connoisseurs tasting rather than eating cake.

It would be interesting to hear what practical challenges this presents to bakers. Can one merely cut the recipe in half?

How successful has your downsizing been?

Is 6” now the new popular cake size?

Will Rose’s next book feature even more small cakes? Would you like to see more small cakes featured?

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Posted: 05 February 2010 01:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I make 6 inch cakes all the time.  It is my responsiblility to make all the desserts for every occassion. Of course I can never make up my mind about which cake to bake so I always make several in 6 inch sizes. This way people can have a choice and even try a slice of each. I don’t bother with adjusting the baking powder, I simply halve the recipe and bake in 6X2 inch pans. If it domes a little (which only happens with the RHC coconut cake, then I just lop of the top and munch on the scaps for a snack. smile

I believe some make smaller cakes with the 7 inch pans, which Rose recommends, but I find 6 inch to be the perfect size and I cut it into 12 perfect size pieces or 16 thin slices.

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Posted: 05 February 2010 01:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I have 7” pans…I find that 1/2 a recipe of Rose’s, intended for a 9” pan, works perfectly in the 7”. I’ve been doing it for years. Like the previous post…I do it so that I can make a variety of cakes when I don’t have a huge crowd.

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Posted: 05 February 2010 03:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I halved recipes several times - using 6 inch pans.
For genoise, itt works really well (great texture, flat top) b/c there’s no leavening agent.
For butter cakes, I reduce leavening agent by a pinch. As Belasuna said, the cake would domed a little but I just cut the dome.
Sometime in the future, I’d like to try halving recipe and baking it in one 9 inch pan - to see if I like it better.

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Posted: 05 February 2010 04:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I also halve recipes often, using 6-inch pans. If your cake recipes sometimes call for 8-inch round pans and sometimes for 9-inch round pans, one or two 6-inch round pans will work for half-recipes of either of these. If you want to be really precise, a half-recipe for an 8-inch pan would need an 5.66 inch pan and a half-recipe for a 9-inch pan would need a 6.36 inch pan.

I also don’t bother adjusting the leavening most of the time. Oh, and I do use cake strips. If you use the fabric or home-made ones, do NOT wrap them around in double layers on a small pan, it slows down the cooking too much! Let the excess stick out to the side like a “handle.” I speak from experience here.

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Posted: 05 February 2010 04:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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P.S. You asked “how successful has your downsizing been?” My answer would be that it has generally been quite successful!

A couple more tips:

Watch out for math errors when halving or doubling recipes—I recommend writing everything down and double-checking. I often note the measurements in the margin of the cookbook. (I broke this rule recently when making a double recipe of sweet pastry dough. Bad idea —ended up doubling everything but the flour. I wondered why the dough came out so sticky—then I realized what I had done!)

If you are frosting just the tops of the cake layers, you can halve the frosting recipe as well. But if you are frosting the sides, you will need more frosting than half the recipe—I recommend making at least 3/4 the frosting recipe. (Extra can be frozen and used on cupcakes.)

I actually like small cakes better than cupcakes—you can get fancy with layering, different fillings, decorating the sides & tops—but that’s just my own preference.

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Posted: 05 February 2010 05:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Bungalow Barbara - 05 February 2010 08:29 PM

I also halve recipes often, using 6-inch pans. If your cake recipes sometimes call for 8-inch round pans and sometimes for 9-inch round pans, one or two 6-inch round pans will work for half-recipes of either of these. If you want to be really precise, a half-recipe for an 8-inch pan would need an 5.66 inch pan and a half-recipe for a 9-inch pan would need a 6.36 inch pan.

I also don’t bother adjusting the leavening most of the time. Oh, and I do use cake strips. If you use the fabric or home-made ones, do NOT wrap them around in double layers on a small pan, it slows down the cooking too much! Let the excess stick out to the side like a “handle.” I speak from experience here.

That is defintely good to know Barbara.

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Posted: 05 February 2010 05:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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On my project to do list is to try more of the RHC recipes and some of my own in 6” and 7”.  I recenty acquired some 7” because I previously read that that is what Bill uses.  I have tried one of my own recipes in 6” and it did dome a little, but I really like the size.  I think many 6” cakes are perfect for many occasions and circumstances.  And, I agree with Barbara, I think the 6” cake is more adorable and elegant than cupcakes.  I also plan to do one layer for some recipes that I have not yet tried just to see how the cake tastes.

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Posted: 05 February 2010 06:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Barbara - good point regarding math error and frosting math. I have made mistakes of halving everything but 1 component in the recipe. Thankfully, I usually realize what happened during mise en place so I could remeasure.
Regarding frosting math, I multiple by 2/3 - 3/4. For just simple frosting I find 2/3 is enough. But if you want to pipe stars, shells, etc all around you need 3/4 of the frosting.

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Posted: 05 February 2010 11:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Paul - 05 February 2010 05:33 PM

There seems to be a new trend emerging towards baking single layers and smaller cakes reflecting a renewed healthy living style. The emphasis is on baking connoisseurs tasting rather than eating cake.

I happen to agree with this, Paul, but I’m wondering what your particular evidence is. Have you seen industry research on trends?  Or is this the product of observation in your own baking/eating experience and that of friends and colleagues?

The researcher in me is curious. What’s your source?

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Posted: 06 February 2010 12:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Carolita - no research just observation. Both here and offshore there seems to be a trend towards smaller cakes which are good for the waistline and importantly provide the opportunity to taste a larger variety of baking. People seem more conscious of less sugar too which is in line with Rose’s recipes. One large cake seems so boring nowadays!

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